Berlin, Nov 25 (IANS) German football club Bayern Munich are looking to the future and focusing on getting ready for 2015 even as they prepare to take on English team Manchester City in their fifth Group E match in the Champions League Tuesday.
There seems little to do for the rest of 2014 as the Bundesliga leaders are seven points ahead of the chasing pack of VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Moenchengladbach with 12 matches played, reports Xinhua.
They have a perfect record in the Champions League after four games, eight points ahead of the second-placed AS Roma and 10 more than Manchester City and have already shifted their attention to the Round of 16 draw, scheduled to be held Dec 15.
But Bayern’s Spanish coach Pep Guardiola knows full well they have to prepare for important games next year when they take on the big boys of European club football in the final stages of the competition.
For Bayern, it means getting midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger back to full fitness after a long injury break, finding a solution to replace key figure Philipp Lahm who will be out of the game for months with a broken ankle and gelling together as a defensive, midfield and offensive unit to become even more formidable.
For now, Schweinsteiger could replace Lahm alongside Xabi Alonso and complete Bayern’s central midfield woes. As things are working well up front with the quintet of Mario Goetze, Thomas Mueller, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Robert Lewandowski, all world class players, Guardiola is looking for tactical flexibility in his back-line as he regards it as being essential to control play in the midfield.
The key task for Bayern is the quick change from a back-line of four to a three-man defence during the game. The Bundesliga is viewed by Guardiola as field to experiment as exemplified by last weekend’s match against TSG Hoffenheim.
Hoffenheim, lost 0-4, but posed problems for Bayern with their aggressive pressing. Guardiola changed from four to three in defence to gain control of the match.
Bayern is also preparing itself for its future off-the-field with behind the scenes managerial activity.
The club paid off its $433.245 million debt taken to build their home stadium recently – the Allianz Arena – 16 years ahead of schedule.
Director of Football Matthias Sammer extended his contract until 2018 with his main task being charting up a plan of succesful transition after key players Robben and Ribery end their careers.
Borussia Dortmund striker Marco Reus (now sidelined for six to eight weeks with an ankle injury) is top of Bayern’s must-buy list. But the main task for Sammer is to find Bayern’s next generation and to finish the club’ s new academy centre.
In January 2015, former president Uli Hoeness will be released from prison after tax evasion conviction and will take charge of Bayern’s youth set-up.
“It looks like a worthwhile aim to try to win all the group games,” said Bayern’s club boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
“To me it sounds like a great aim to win all group games. After all you get additional prize money and Germany gets points for the FIFA-Ranking-List,” added the former German striker.